LaJoie Finally Brings It Home

NEWTON, Iowa — Corey LaJoie finally was able to celebrate in Victory Lane at Iowa Speedway, closing out a dominating effort Friday night with a win in the Pork Be Inspired 150.

It was the third NASCAR K&N Pro Series win of the season for LaJoie and may be the sweetest — coming on the heels of a flat tire in the final laps at Columbus Motor Speedway.

In the May race at Iowa, LaJoie was fast early but had a mechanical issue that put him down several laps that he was not able to recover even as he was running similar lap times as the race leaders. In 2010, he was part of a three-wide battle for the lead at the white flag but ultimately finished fourth.

1 Corey LaJoie
2 Kyle Larson
3 Sergio Pena
4 Chase Elliott
5 Brett Moffitt

Friday, there was no misfortunate to keep LaJoie out of Victory Lane.

“My first time here, we were running second on a green-white-checkered and got move around and ended up fourth,” LaJoie said. “Earlier this year, an alternator wire fell off (while) running second.

“I can’t thank Ron Otto and all the guys enough,” said the second-generation driver. “It shows hard work pays off in the end. You can have all the money in the world, but if you don’t have all the pieces in the right spot, then they’re not going to make the puzzle. Granted, we’re doing it on a lot less budget than what those guys are doing, but all of our pieces tonight were in the right spot.”

LaJoie weathered a side-by-side battle with rookie Kyle Larson, who ultimately finished second, and then pulled away following a late red flag that set up a 14-lap sprint to the finish. Just prior to the last caution that brought out the red, LaJoie and Larson ran three straight laps side by side with Larson a nose with ahead at the line each time.

LaJoie said he was devoted to running the bottom groove around the track.

“The bottom is the shortest way around the track,” he said. “I go off that philosophy. If you get your car working on the bottom, nobody’s going to beat you – no matter if they’re up against the fence or on the apron. That’s just what I’ve been taught by my dad and everybody throughout my career. Tonight, I was living by it and I was going to die by it, too. “Kyle was running really good on the high side. I knew if I could hold back from driving in there too deep or door-slamming him to try to break his momentum that I was going to only hurt myself. So I just had to keep doing what I was doing and run the bottom and luckily I was able to clear him. When I got to be able to use the whole race track, it was smooth sailing after that.”

After LaJoie and Larson, Sergio Pena finished third. Chase Elliott was fourth and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points leader Brett Moffitt was fifth. Travis Pastrana finished sixth, followed by Cale Conley, Eddie MacDonald, Michael Self and Daniel Suarez. Self was the top finishing NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driver.

Earlier in the day, Conley won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Light. He led the first four laps before giving way to LaJoie, who led a race-high 134 laps.

The Pork Be Inspired 150 will air on SPEED on Thursday, Aug. 16, at 3 p.m. ET.

There are four races remaining in each of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West. Brett Moffitt leads the East by 20 points over Larson, 22 over Elliott and 25 over LaJoie. Greg Pursley, who finished 20th overall and fifth among West drivers, leads that series by seven over teammate Dylan Kwasniewski.

The next race for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will be the Greenville 140 at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway, while the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will return to the track Aug. 26 on the road course at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway.